Sinkholes Due to Groundwater Withdrawal in Tazerbo Wellfield, SE Libya



Alfarrah N, Berhane G, Hweesh A, Walraevens K.


Ground Water. 2017 Jul;55(4):593-601. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12534. Epub 2017 May 12.


The desert of eastern Libya forms one of the most arid regions of the Sahara. The Great Man-Made River Project (GMRP) was established. It transports millions of cubic meters of water a day from desert wellfields to the coastal cities, where over 80% of the population lives. The Tazerbo Wellfield is one of the wellfields designed within the GMRP, delivering water to the eastern coast of Libya through an underground pipe network. Tazerbo Wellfield consists of 108 production wells; each well was designed to pump 100 L/s. The planned total groundwater withdrawal from all wells is 1 million m(3) /d. The deep sandstone aquifer (Nubian sandstone) is covered by a thick mudstone-siltstone aquitard and is being heavily pumped. The aquifer and fine-grained sediments of the aquitard may be compacted resulting in land subsidence as a result of high exploitation. Local sinkholes have developed in the area of Tazerbo since the start of the pumping from the wellfield in 2004. These sinkholes have been caused mainly by lowering of the piezometric heads due to the withdrawal of groundwater. In this study, a hydrogeological investigation is presented about the effect of large groundwater pumping from the Nubian sandstone aquifer in Tazerbo Wellfield, SE Libya, based on physical parameters for 108 production wells and 23 observation wells. CI – © 2017, National Ground Water Association.

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Link/DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12534